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US Open Day 14 | Houdet, Kamiji and Wagner crowned champions

US Open Day 14 | Houdet, Kamiji and Wagner crowned champions

On the final day at Flushing meadows three more champions were crowned in the wheelchair draw.

Stephane Houdet, Yui Kamiji and David Wagner lifted the men’s, women’s and quads division singles titles respectively.

And British players Alfie Hewett and Andy Lapthorne finished with runners-up honours in what was an incredibly successful US Open for British tennis players – Hewett having already won the men’s doubles title with Gordon Reid and Lapthorne the quads division doubles with Wagner on day 13 in New York.

 Alfie Hewett

There were runners-up honours for Alfie Hewett

Picture © Tennis Foundation

The hold of serve that decided a title

France’s Houdet defeated Britain’s Hewett in an exciting three setter 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 to take his fourth career Grand Slam singles title, his second at the US Open having previously won in 2013.

It was always going to be tough for Hewett, who was coming off a run of long and exhausting matches to try and score his first victory over the French number one.

But he battled hard until the very last point, never giving up until game, set and championship had been called.

And at just 19 and having four Grand Slam titles to his name already , three of which have come in 2017, Hewett can be proud of what he has achieved on both his US Open debut and so far in his career.

The British number two had to play a high risk game.

With Houdet – when he was not going for those lethal and almost impossible to return serves out wide – taking pace off the ball and making him play for every point, Hewett had to combat it somehow.

And he chose a strategy which worked in his favour a lot of the time seeing him hit far more winners but also clock up more unforced errors than his opponent.

 Alfie Hewett

Hewett made one of his comebacks to force a decider

Picture © Anna Vasalaki

Having had his opening game broken – two successive double faults handing it to Houdet – Hewett then broke immediately back before holding his next service game with one of the shots we’ve got used to seeing him bring out when the pressure is on – his trademark smash.

With Hewett leading 2-1 Houdet then went on a five game run to close out the first set with a love service game.

The second set started with both players holding their serve but before he knew it Hewett was a set and 3-1 down.

It was then that the teenager from Norfolk went on the attack, needing to take this set to keep his title hopes alive.

His forehand firing on all cylinders, breaking out both backhand and forehand winners and coming in to the net more saw Hewett shift momentum in the match and close out the second set to take it to a decider.

The deciding set, which included eight breaks of serve, became a battle to see who could hold their serve first.

With Houdet 4-3 up it was the Frenchman that got that all important and only hold of serve in the final set before going on to break Hewett once more to take the set, match and US Open singles title.

Houdet now becomes the fourth different Grand Slam singles champion of 2017 – Gustavo Fernandez having been victorious in Australia, Hewett at Roland Garros and Stefan Olsson at Wimbledon showing how open the men’s game is at the minute.

 Andy Lapthorne withe runners-up trophy

It was also runners-up honours for Lapthorne in singles

Picture © Anna Vasalaki

A great showcase for quads tennis

In the quads division Wagner added yet another singles accolade to his name with a 7-5 ,3-6, 6-4 victory over British number one, Andy Lapthorne.

Britain’s Lapthorne may have finished with runner-up honours but he played some incredible tennis, hitting big serves when he needed to and playing smart even when Wagner kept trying to get past him with those difficult to reach cross court winners positioned perfectly  in the corners to cause maximum damage.

The first set was a closely contested affair and at 5-4 up Lapthorne needed only to break the Wagner serve to take the first set.

But the world number one took the next three games and subsequently the set meaning Lapthorne had to reset and go again.

And this he did.

With the crowd in full voice, Lapthorne dominated the the second set, even playing the American at his own game, the forehand cross court winners firing off his racket point after point.

Momentum continued to be in his favour until the middle of the deciding set, the British number one 4-2 up at one point.

But that was when Wagner took control again.

And in what was a gripping final from the first point to the last it was the World number one who edged it on his second Championship point.

 Andy Lapthorne

He won the doubles title with Wagner yesterday

Picture © Anna Vasalaki

Kamiji claims another title

In the women’s final Kamiji defeated Diede de Groot in straights sets 7-5, 6-2 to claim her third Grand Slam singles trophy of 2017, the only other player to have lifted a title being de Groot who won at SW19 in July.

The first set was tight, the key point coming when Kamiji was 6-5 up and needing to break her Dutch opponent’s serve to take the opener.

This she did and after that the World number one dominated play, structuring her points well to get the win and become US Open champion.

Japan’s Kamiji has pretty much dominated the women’s game this year, having only lost three matches in total since January.

About The Author

Gemma-Louise Stevenson

Gemma is a journalist, presenter and commentator with specialisms in para-sport and tennis. She has been following the wheelchair tennis tour for a number of years now reporting from some of the major events, including Grand Slams, for various online, print and broadcast outlets, including the BBC. Gemma has also been commissioned to write a number of books on the sport. It is her ultimate ambition to see the wheelchair, VI, deaf and learning disability versions of the game reported equally and alongside the ATP and WTA tours and to be part of the group of journalists that helps to make that happen. Follow her on Twitter @gstevensonsport

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